Tanvi Abbhi and Margaux Gleber
The Covid-19 pandemic has uprooted our lives in the most fundamental of ways. The mechanisms in which we interact, socialize, learn, work, and access healthcare will no longer be the same. As we emerge from the eye of the storm, many of us have been pondering, “What’s next?” One thing is certain: we will not be going back to the way things were before. As a digital health company at the forefront of the digital health evolution, we have identified a handful of key trends that will define what healthcare looks like moving forward.
Within one month, the pandemic drove a surge in telehealth that the industry has been trying to achieve for over ten years. And guess what? Patients love it. Telehealth appointments save patients over 100 minutes of time compared to an in-person visit, and providers are able to tap into new markets and drive better health outcomes for their patients. Sounds like a win-win, right? While the answer is yes, the next wave of digitization is to shift the care paradigm from one that is reactive to stated patient need to one that is proactive and predictive to meet patients where they are. Read on to learn about the top 5 trends that we believe will define the next generation of healthcare experiences.
1. Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) takes center stage.
RPM allows providers to monitor disease and symptom progression remotely and then engage with patients virtually to modify care plans and to provide education on self-care based on changes in the patient’s condition. While the short-term benefit has been to reduce the risk of the patient contracting Covid-19 in the healthcare setting, the long-term benefits of RPM are that it can improve quality of care, reduce costly ER visits, and potentially improve health outcomes. Given the convenience and effectiveness that many patients associate with RPM, it is unlikely that this practice will lose momentum.
RPM will become a standard offering as providers see its value for continuous care beyond Covid-19.
2. Patient self-management platforms put patients in the driver’s seat.
It’s important to note that the concept and use of RPM is not new. Neither is the core problem that RPM seeks to solve, which is that our healthcare system is designed around acute interventions, resulting in little to no chronic condition support and poor adherence to treatment protocols. Nearly half of all Americans suffer from at least one chronic condition, and are faced with managing heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, or other health conditions every day. A disease management platform can continually provide ongoing support, timely information, and personalized resources that extend care beyond ambulatory settings. Digital health offerings that are personalized and take into account patients’ history, digital phenotype and other patient context such as digital savviness (ie, SMS or smartphone-based engagement) will pick up popularity by helping patients make more informed decisions about their health, which is key to improving outcomes and reducing hospital readmissions.
3. An uptick in adherence tools will drive better outcomes.
The Covid-19 pandemic has illustrated the costs and dangers of non-adherence. In order to increase treatment adherence, it’s important to treat the entire person, not just their condition. Each patient has their own set of behaviors, motivators, and barriers that impact how they respond to their care plans. Adherence tools will become more popular, as they give patients personalized information about their medications and how to better manage their symptoms. For example, medication adherence companies have shown positive results for increasing treatment compliance, which leads to more positive patient care outcomes.
4. Care coordination as a service will generate more consistency.
Care coordinators have become valuable resources and are essential for driving patient engagement in a consistent manner. By providing virtual check-ins and assessments, patients can get the care they need with minimal effort and cost. This way, patients can feel comfortable knowing that supportive resources are available to them when they are not directly in the doctor’s office. Providers will begin to utilize dedicated and outsourced care coordinators to be more efficient by focusing on patients who are physically present in the clinical setting.
5. A hybrid care model is here to stay.
As patients were told to stay at home during the public health emergency, the need for RPM to treat patients with chronic conditions became all the more critical. Practices have begun to embrace an omni-channel approach to delivering care by using different channels and outreach mechanisms for certain types of encounters. For example, with our solution, providers simply identify the disease group to be monitored and the system automatically selects the interaction mode, frequency and monitoring needs. Utilizing a technology that marries patient-reported and clinical data to identify at-risk patients and enable early interventions without workflow interruption gives providers added convenience and, in some cases, increases patient volume for the practice.
Covid-19 has impacted our health system and the demands of its most active participants. While we were experiencing an increase of digital technologies to improve care delivery before Covid-19 swept the globe, it’s no longer a question of “if” these technologies will be implemented, but rather when. Join us in this journey of utilizing digital technologies to improve patient health outcomes.
Tanvi Abbhi is the co-founder of Miami-based Veta Health and a business builder in the social impact space. Margaux Gleber is an Operations Manager at Veta Health and has a background in public health.